Home Priceline’s Shatner “Negotiator” Makes His Last Deal Today

Priceline’s Shatner “Negotiator” Makes His Last Deal Today

Perhaps not since “The Sweet Hereafter” has there ever been a more pivotal bus crash shown on TV or in the movies. Today Priceline begins a new ad campaign that shows the death of its William Shatner “Negotiator” character. For those of you that haven’t seen “The Sweet Hereafter,” a movie based on a Russell Banks story, it is worth renting just for Ian Holm’s wonderful performance. But back to Priceline and Shatner.

Shatner is still under contract with Priceline for another year, and has been the spokesmodel for the company for 14 years, one of the most enduring relationships in modern advertising. Ironically, he was given stock warrants that were worth $10 million at the time of the company’s IPO, which he sold at the bottom of the market. These shares would be worth $5 million today: you could say that he didn’t negotiate the best deal for himself.

Priceline is using the bus crash ad to spread the word about its pay-full-price service: most of us know them for their deals for low prices on unknown hotels. It probably is a good reminder, and is as campy as the other ads involving Shatner, who in a blaze of glory, helps the passengers off before plunging to his filmic and fiery death.

As a teen when the original Star Trek series was first run on network TV, I was a big fan of James T. Kirk, the original character that Shatner played before becoming a self-parody with such delicious roles as a worn-out beauty pageant executive, an eccentric lawyer, a womanizing cop and a hyperbolic pitchman. And then there are the numerous spoken-word recordings too. Now, don’t get all hot and bothered: I love the guy, and his wooden portrayal of Kirk set the gold standard for other Trek leaders, including the only woman starship commander Kathryn Janeway, played by Kate Mulgrew. Mulgrew had her own role as pitching IBM’s OS/2, which was nicknamed Warp after the series.

So goodbye Mr. Negotiator. May you continue to live long and prosper. On YouTube.

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